In an interview, Purisima said, however, that Senior Supt. Danny Bautista is not yet off the hook. Probers are looking into whether he had been negligent in disciplining his subordinates.
Earlier, Baustista himself relieved Police Station 1 head Chief Inspector Rico Cayabyab and his men: SPO1 Ronald Santos, PO2 Cyrus Lising, and PO2 Michael Villareal who allegedly extorted P400,000 from Lazatin’s nephew last Jan. 19.
Purisima lauded Bautista for the latter’s voluntary move, describing him as a “responsible person who is not inclined to hold on to his post like a barnacle to the hull of a ship.”
But Purisima said Bautista, who has been assigned to Camp Olivas regional police headquarters in San Fernando, Pampanga, is not yet off the hook.
“If we find out that there was negligence on his part, then he too would be answerable,” he said.
Bautista has been replaced by Senior Supt. Melchor Reyes who used to be police chief of Mabalacat town and member of the Pampanga intelligence unit. Reyes will head the team investigating the relieved cops.
Meanwhile, the four cops from Station 1 were reassigned to the personnel holding and accounting unit of the city police.
Lazatin had provided police with a footage from a CCTV camera at the Fort Stotsenberg Hotel at Clark Freeport here, purportedly showing Lising and Villareal accompanying Lazatin’s nephew and one of his sons encashing a check for P400,000 that was later turned over to the cops.
Lazatin said his nephew and a friend were driving on their way home to Angeles at about 1 a.m. last Jan. 19 when they were flagged down by policemen who accused them of using marijuana on the bases of alleged strong smell of the substance in their car.
“They were brought to Station 1 where shabu was apparently planted on them. My nephew said they were threatened and harassed until the cops finally told them that no charges would be filed against them if they could produce P400,000,” Lazatin said.
Lazatin, who had been a three-term mayor of Angeles, stressed that he has never tolerated drug users even if they are relatives, but noted that he would not allow planting of evidence and extortion.